Should We Re-Think the Lead Generation Funnel?

23 10 2009

What happens when someone becomes a fan of a facebook fan page? What happens when someone RT retweets something? What happens when you hold a conversation on Linkedin? This individual “vote to participate into a sales process” is seen by their ‘friends’. Did I shock you? It may not lead to a monetary transaction but it triggers an increased awareness of something. Consumers and customers have been empowered for some time to become active participants of their consumption. They are clearly moving outside of the traditional sales funnel starting with thorough research using internet.

A recent McKinsey report (June 2009 Subscription) highlights that only 30% of purchasing decision points are still ‘company driven’. This means that more than 70% of decision points in a buyer’s active evaluation process are now consumer-driven: user consumer reviews, word of mouth and in store interactions. Is it time to re-evaluate how things are done?

Social technologies are expanding these phenomena to micro-influence level never seen before. A few weeks ago, I had to change our office router and jumped on Twitter & FB to ask what people thought… it didn’t take more than 10 minutes to get 10 e-pinions… 2 from people I know, 8 from people I don’t know. It’s getting much easier to get that instant feedback. You bet I bought what was most recommended.

Now what does it mean for our businesses? People are empowered to swap between brands more than ever before. The social media funnel and measurement is simply upside down compared with a traditional sales or purchasing decision process. It’s cheaper, greener, further-sighted to use social media. Brands need to go through the journey of seeing themselves through the lens of their constituents. It’s not an audience, it’s a constituency.

1- A brand may and connect with its core customers to start with and then expand. There is, most of the time, an underlying community of customers or consumers. There are also communities of influencers in that space. Both groups should be recognized and empowered by your brand if you’re serious about building trust.

2- A community will only engage if they feel connected and empowered by that brand. If there is no exchange, there is no social media; it’s only push marketing through new channels. Deliver high quality content and help them support each other. People are likely to want to discuss about much larger things surrounding your brand than just your product. They already know of your product or use them.

3- The more they talk, the more they trust, the more everyone is merrier.

4- Be where conversations happen. If you’re lucky/skilled… but mostly honest and caring, people will progressively feel comfortable discussing the brand’s social footprint or presence. If not, a brand should carry its ‘conversation capital’ where ever those conversations happen.

No one likes to be part of a funnel (ask the Foie Gras ducks what they think about this). Like everyone else, we vote with our $$ when you see value and can trust a product or services. On the other side, it always feels good to buy something from a brand you trust. Be the change you want to see, they say.

Now, is this the right mix? Am I saying that the traditional funnel should disappear? No. How do you think an organization should look at these strategies?

@YannR

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Twitter did it again, it’s about the people

16 01 2009

 

Yesterday was again a day for the people, powered by twitter – Ok they are now looking at making money (and should), I just hope they’ll stay true to the people… actually if they don’t, the conversational bees (us) will swarm to the next thing.

Back to the airplane, @jkrums  was on the ferry crossing the Hudson River when the US Airways plane crashed.  He simply took a picture and published it via twitter (twitpic). This picture has now gone around the world and was viewed 250,000 time (here) at time of blogging.  Everyone was safe which is just amazing… 

Two weeks ago, another airplane caught on fire at DIA Denver airport, same story – Way before anyone had time to know, Twitter was at work again. The minute a passenger was able to twitt about it, we all knew about it and 2 hours before any one else. You can still follow what’s going by just clicking here  .  The thread is now informing you about any later events.

Last week for example,  a fire broke out in Boulder (middle of winter),11,000 people were evacuated – guess who was first with the news? Twitter of course. 

This happens every day and every where, the scale just varies.  If it is newsworthy, people talk to each other and spread the word…

What does it mean now for your business? Entering twitter or the social media space has to be about the people. It’s not about you and how cool you are. It’s about your HIGHER PURPOSE as an entity or a brand. No, you won’t have such worthy news up your sleeve every day but every one of your constituents has a worthy life. Engaging them is a good first step.  By empowering your constituents, you will bring the higher purpose home. If I write this blog, I empower you to understand why social media is the right avenue for modern communication.  

Did I sell you anything? Nope.  Did I inform you? I hope.

One more thing I suggest: put the ‘newspaper’ inside your brand. Noone can stop you talking about the industry as a whole… and the people who buy from that industry. Magazines do it, why can’t you? Blogging, Twittering, Vlogging, Podcasting… all at our finger tips… and way, way, cheaper than putting a $60,000 ad in Outside Mag whose sighting is very hard to even track 😦

You can improve it if you can measure it! 

Cheers

@YannR

& thanks spunkinatoror  and KLuwak for the the great pictures